Recommendations from IP Normalisation Dialogue

[From the multi-stakeholder Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Normalisation Dialogue held at Ateneo de Davao University, October 15, 2015, 1;30 to 6:00 pm]

Below is the summary (as captured in the discussion) of the recommendations during the IP Normalization Dialogue:

  • Recognize IP ancestral domain as a political territory and the focus of development planning and service delivery (not just barangay).
  • Promote and respect IP self-governance; strengthen or re-establish IP political systems.
  • Popularize the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA); ensure that the entire government is accountable for it and not just the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
  • Strengthen the NCIP in terms of structure, personnel and budget to implement IPRA
  • In service delivery by government and NGOs, respect IP ways and processes (“Dili mi kinahanglan mosurrender sa sistema sa uban aron mi ninyo tabangan”) – “We don’t need to surrender to your system just to be given assistance by non-IPs.”
  • Reactivate the negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) without preconditions.
  • Reactivate the Joint Monitoring Committee.
  • Demilitarization of the Lumad communities so they can go home.
  • Pamaas (indigenous practice): Each side (Government and the NPA) has something they have to be accountable for.
  • Strengthen the tribal defense system.
  • Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to have a “peace table” for IPs; NCIP to have a peace program.
  • Continue the Dialogues
  •       On the recommendations?
  •       One dialogue on the demands? Pull-out military troops from our schools and communities, disband and disarm AFP-backed indigenous paramilitary groups and prosecute all perpetrators of human rights violations
  •                  Ensure that the “other” is “present” in the dialogue; do the necessary preparations and back-channeling
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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
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2 Responses to Recommendations from IP Normalisation Dialogue

  1. Leoneil O'Mar C. Mañigo says:

    The dialogue for the normalisation of the IPs did not meet my expectations. Because 1.) The Lumad Datus in Haran were there and did not have the opportunity to defend themselves about the allegations thrown to them. It turned out to be a one sided discussion. There were other tribe leaders from Zambuanga and Bukidnon, who have similar concerns as the datus in Haran (like paramilitary presence in their area, privitization of ancestral lands and lumad killings), but their concerns were not answered (or maybe it was not the answer I was looking for). 2.) One of the speakers at the center table told the audience that the Alamara is similar to Alsa Masa, contrary to the statements of the Governor of Surigao del Sur(corect me if I’m wrong) and from UN that Alamara was formed by the Military to counter insurgency in the area. I may have biases to whom to believe, but my question is, who armed these men? Why can they still roam around villages without being captured or noticed by the Military or Police(as stated by one of the datus present in the room)? I was not convinced by the answer of the Sr. Superintendent and other govt agencies who told the audience that they do not know such occassions. These instances of harrassment was all over the news and social media. How can they not know? 3.) The major concern was not emphasized. The people in the round table was indirectly telling us that the barrier of getting the Lumads normalized is insurgency, the Lumads of Haran not coming back home and it being a propaganda of the NDFP. The main concern of the Lumads was their “yutang kabilin”, where lands were suddenly entitled to someone without the knowledge of the community, where the Alamaras, Baganis and other armed men are killing Tribal leaders and teachers, where military presence is strong and where the schools are being closed or burned down that prevents the Lumads to be educated. These are the main problems that prevents the lumads from being normalized, not the “disrespect” of low landers on lumad Culture, not the weak defense system of the Lumads, not legitimacy of leadership and ect. The happenings in their Yutang Kabilin is the main concern not what’s happening in Haran. I can see the efforts of lumad leaders that are not wearing their cultural attire and the student from Assumption to raise the concerns that prevents the lumads from being normalised but yet again they were out spoken by the govt. Agencies and the Datus wearing their tribal attire outside their polo and slacks. Good thing Maam Mags did great as the moderator of the discussion, she was not biased and was respectful.

    In my reflection, after the session. I came up with thoughts that could help the normalisation of the lumads but I don’t know if it’s posible:

    What if the Lands of the lumads have no titles at all? What if a law can be created that ancestral lands cannot be entitled to anyone, not even the datu leading the area, not even by concent? The lands would be owned by the lumads as a people. I thought by doing this the lands cannot be bought by anyone. No one can trick the datus from selling their lands and no datu can sell their land if they want the money for their own. This could answer the concern of the tribal leader from Zambuanga, that their lands are owned by foreigners. Magiging normal na ang pamumuhay nila, dahil dati hindi uso ang papel na nagsasabing sakanino ang lupang ito. The land is for every lumad.

    What if the military or any gunned men are not allowed to go near (about 5 km away) Lumad Schools and Communities? Wala nang matatamaan na hindi sinasabiya. At kung may pinatay man, the presence of the military or armed group is already a crime. Para klaro. Manonormalize talaga sila di naman tlg normal ang may militar sa kanilang komunidad eh. This would answer the concern of the Lumad leader from Bukidnon, about armed men roving around their communities.

    What if large scale Mining, woodcutting and plantations are banned in the lumad areas? Kung ako tatanongin hindi nila kailangan ng trabaho. Kung ang definition ng govt. Sa development ay pagkakaroon ng mga lumad ng mga trabaho. I think they don’t need that. They are already happy with their bountiful yutang kabilin. Nabuhay sila doon ng mapayapa matapos ang daan-daang taon. Ngayon alam din natin na nakakasira ang mga ito sa environment. Hindi normal yun sa mga lumad. We cannot deny na ang mga hindi lumad ang nangulo sa kanila, dahil sa interes sa kanilang yutang kabilin. Normalisation would be attained if no bussiness from foreign companies are around the area. Period. Un naman talaga ang root cause nito lahat diba?

    One great thing that Ateneo taught me is to always take side of the poor. Ang poor nung pagkighinabi session last wednesday ay ang mga wala doon, ang mga Datu from Haran, na sibihang peke nang mga taong malalakas ang impluwendiya. Its sad actually. Sige lang.. first time ko din nun makarinig magcounter propaganda ang mga militar. It’s one of the most outrageous pakighinabi sessions that I’ve attended, but I was the most impactful. And I am very happy that I’ve attended. 🙂

    More pakighinabi sessions please pero sana next time kasama na ang both sides. It would be very interesting.

    • Arnold Abejaron says:

      Hi Leoneil, Thank you for your feedback.

      The plan of the dialogue really includes the datus and lumad from Haran whom we hope can speak of their concerns, consistent with the recommendation of UNSR Chalk Beyani in his Statement on the Human Rights of the IDPs on the conclusion of his official visit to the Philippines, 21 to 31 July 2015, that: “I urge the Government, in consultation with indigenous peoples THEMSELVES, to give greater attention to addressing the causes of displacement whether it be due to the militarization of their areas or due to development projects.” (all caps/emphasis supplied)

      Given the context, invitations were sent to government representatives. The Lumad who are not in Haran and from other places were also invited. Lumad from other places expressed their interest to attend and they came. Further, invitations were also sent to the datus in Haran through PASAKA Lumad Regional Confederation Sec. Gen. Jhong Monzon. Bishop Hamuel Tequis of UCCP Haran was also invited. During the follow ups, some of the datus in Haran expressed their interest in joining, but they also said that they will still discuss their attendance with Haran management and will consult with PASAKA Sec. Gen. Jhong Monzon. However, days before to the scheduled dialogue, we were informed of their decision not to attend and that they will just send a statement. The statement was received during the dialogue and was read and incorporated in the proceedings. As in any offer to dialogue, we can only set the platform and extend the invitation. We can only hope, but we cannot force parties to come and attend.

      At any rate, we thank you again for your feedback. We will give it great consideration in planning the next sessions. We are conscious that things will not be easy, but with the grace of God, nothing is impossible. Along this line, we hope and pray that you will join us in calling the real parties in interest to be able to come to a dialogue and in the spirit of trust and good faith, discuss the concerns, find a common ground, propose solutions, and bring normalisation to the lives of our lumad brothers and sisters.

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